Switching to organic is tough for many people who don’t want to pay higher prices or give up their favorite foods. But by choosing certain organic versions of just a few foods that you eat often, you can increase the percentage of organic food in your diet without big changes to your lifestyle.
People who are pro-organic hold firm to the believe that the way food is grown affects its nutritional quality. But advocates of local eating are now making another leap, saying what happens after harvest, how food is shipped and handled, is perhaps even more important than how it was grown. Local purists therefore assert that because locally grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete. Take for example, chefs who buy organics all the time, even if that meant flying in Californian nectarines. But if you’re using X amount of jet fuel to get it to KL, and that doesn’t make sense. So forget the nectarines. Buy something local. Get some bananas, mangos or papayas instead.
Wow, this was a real eye-opener to me , and I am happy to say, that here at Opika, they really strive to use as much of local ingredients and work with farmers from our local backyard, as much as possible, to give you a 100% organically sumptuous meal. Eating organic and eating local is really what it’s all about. Speaking to the owners of the restaurant, we understand that during the next phase, they have plans to execute degustation menus, using local produce and artisan breads etc made by locals. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
And if making the switch to organics isn’t for all of us, but you still want a place to have a good organic meal from time to time, then Opika is the place to visit. The newest addition to 1 utama’s old-new wing, the organic dishes at Opika are tasty and hearty, and believe me, they don’t feel like one of those “green and healthy meals that taste like saw-dust” either. The food here is fab, and we would recommend it to anybody.
pumpkin soup RM15
Quinoa salad RM20
One of the best Quinoa salads I have had to date. This one is made with a Nipah dressing instead of the conventional honey. The Nipah dressing comes from a town in Kedah. The sap from the Nipah tree is made into a sauce. It has this characteristically fermented taste that confers a delicious flavour to the quinoa. On top of the Quinoa sits some delightfully crunchy prawns, and on the side, you have some crispy tempeh and kaduk leaf tempura. Right at the heart of the quinoa dish is a layer of ulam , and a healthy mix of mango, kasturi lime and avocado adds moisture to, and completes the ensemble.
opika – open kitchen where you can watch the chefs prepare your organic meal
A little organics store within Opika
These people are shopping for local, organic produce. A terrific idea, if you ask me. Opika will also soon promote organic wines. This is great news, especially for my buddy EatDrinkKL I’m sure!
Scallops in a green asian pesto sauce RM30
This sauce tasted a little like green curry. Very nice indeed!
linguine with pinenut pesto and house spiced pan seared salmon RM35
Give it a good toss!
Swedish style meatballs with mashed potatoes RM28
This is a great dish for the kids. Remember how you hated finishing your peas as a kid? Will, this dish cleverly disguises the green peas in it’s mash potatoes. Hence the green tinge in the mash! The meatballs are a heavenly concoction of lamb, chicken and beef. Chunky bits of meat means these are not the generic horribly starchy meatballs that you sometimes get in some restaurants. Brown sauce, sour cream & lingonberry jelly are the perfect finishing touches on this dish.
carbonara fettuccine with grilled fungi and grilled chicken RM30
Taste wise, this was not a memorable dish. We also found the fettuccine overcooked. Remember to tell them you want your pasta cooked al-dente if you like it chewy, like me.
Nasi Ulam with Percik Chicken RM30
We had ours de-boned for us! What a nice touch. I loved the nasi ulam here. So much ulam that it doesn’t feel like you’re eating rice;)
revised black forest cake with dark organic chocolate and brandy RM14
Apple cake with Walnut crumble RM12
Freshly blended fruit juices are available at Opika RM17.90
My colleagues have been lamenting of late, that they cannot get into their skinny jeans and as such want to eat healthier, low fat lunches. I now have a great place to take them. I’m so glad the food here tastes good.. it’s been too long since we had great Organic cooking in Petaling Jaya!
Add: Opika Organic Market & Restaurant, LG 105-106, 1 Utama (Old-New Wing), Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor Tel: 03-7732-2581
Anyway, just in case you are interested here are some reasons why it is good to eat organic. Here are some key reasons to go organic: (for more info on eating healthy, check out my other blog, Cikipedia)
Organic Food is More Nutritious
Organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals.
Organic food contains qualitatively higher levels of essential minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium), that are severely depleted in chemical foods grown on pesticide and nitrate fertilizer-abused soil.
Organic Food is Pure Food, Free of Chemical Additives
Organic food doesn’t contain food additives, flavor enhancers (like MSG), artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup), contaminants (like mercury) or preservatives (like sodium nitrate), that can cause health problems.
Eating organic has the potential to lower the incidence of autism, learning disorders, diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies, osteoporosis, migraines, dementia, and hyperactivity.
Organic Food Is Safer
Organic food doesn’t contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, may be responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.
Organic food isn’t genetically modified. Under organic standards, genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are prohibited.
Organic animals aren’t given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.
Organic crops aren’t fertilized with toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, or irrigated with E. coli contaminated sewage water.
Organic food contains less illness-inducing bacteria. Organic chicken is free of salmonella and has a reduced incidence of campylobacter.